Parental Bill of Rights
SB 272 is very similar to a concerning bill put forth by the legislature last year that elevated parents’ rights to the detriment of the safety and welfare of children. Similarly, this bill would prioritize parents’ rights above children’s, resulting in possibly dangerous consequences. New Futures recognizes that parents play a crucial role in directing the upbringing of their children, but this role needs to be appropriately balanced with the interests of their children.
SB 272 reduces a child’s ability to explore their identities outside of their families, which can increase anxiety, depression, and risk for suicidality. This bill removes the ability for adolescents to have privacy in school, extracurricular activities, and medical settings. All students should be able to feel safe in school and free to express their true selves, including students who identify as LGBTQ.
New Futures opposes SB 272 because it would prevent students from exploring and expressing themselves in a safe way, especially in building support systems outside of their families. Students who have the ability to have support systems outside of their families have better behavioral health outcomes, especially if they’ve been exposed to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) at home.
SB 272 was passed by the New Hampshire Senate by a 14-10 vote along party lines and was referred to the House Education Committee, where it received a 10-10 vote and no recommendation. The bill ultimately died on the House floor.